2010 Dispatcher of the Year
A veteran dispatcher who joined the Santa Cruz Regional 9-1-1 Center just three years ago has been named the county's Dispatcher of the Year for 2010.
Tammy L. Spath, 43, spent most of her 17-year dispatching career in Henderson, Nev., where she was a supervisor, training officer and academy instructor. She came to Santa Cruz in 2007, and already has made an impression on her peers, who nominated Spath for the annual recognition.
"I love that each day is different and that we help people," said Spath, who lives in Ben Lomond with her husband, Michael; stepdaughter, Emma; and Chewy, their labrador. "I feel so honored that my peers think so highly of me, especially since I haven't been a part of the NetCom family for very long."
Spath is a lead dispatcher at Santa Cruz Regional 9-1-1, as well an academy instructor and training officer. Her expertise in the protocols for handling medical-emergency calls is recognized by the National Academy for Emergency Dispatch, where she often is called upon to conduct training sessions for dispatchers from around the nation and world.
"My passion is really emergency medical dispatching, and one of my best experiences was meeting the person I helped save by giving CPR instructions over the phone to his family," said Spath, recounting a call she handled in 2009. "That's really why I love being a dispatcher. I know we make a difference."
Spath grew up as an "Air Force brat," and traveled all over the world with her family, including spending time in England. "Most of my friends were Air Force brats, too, so you learn to make friends fast and keep them for a long time."
Spath attended University of Nevada, Las Vegas, nearing completion of a bachelor's degree in workforce education before moving to Santa Cruz County to join her then fiance, who is a senior dispatcher at the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety.
The county's newest Dispatcher of the Year began her work career in the Clark County Guardian's Office in Las Vegas, but "sat along" with Henderson dispatchers as often as possible. When Spath got the opportunity to test for a dispatcher position in Henderson, she was one of only four candidates accepted from a field of 200.
It's a good thing the dispatching career has worked out so well for Spath. Early on, she dreamed of being a flight attendant for America West ... but she didn't meet the height requirement. "Imagine that," said the diminutive Spath, laughing.
Spath spends much of her down time traveling with her husband, but she also has taken up running. She finished her first Wharf to Wharf in July 2010, and plans to tackle her first half marathon in her old stomping grounds of Las Vegas in December.